Claims of bishops sexually abusing children and closed door meetings asking young people questions related to sex, a Houston Mormon says this practice must stop and he is demanding change. You first met Sam Young here on the Factor Uncensored Monday night. On Tuesday he laid out details of the allegations at a press conference. This comes as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints remains silent about the charges saying no comment.
It's a process that many of us who are not Mormons and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints aren’t very familiar with, the question is: are you worthy? It’s asked of young people or members of the church who are hoping to enter the priesthood or the temple during a worthiness interview.
“It is an approved practice in my church for bishops and other local leader to take children behind closed doors all alone and pose questions of a sexual nature to the child,” former bishop Sam Young said.
What type of questions is Young referring to that leaders of the LDS faith are asking children? The Houstonian says questions that have left some young people in shame who attend the church, questions about masturbation and their sexuality. Young says he’s collected a book of hundreds of testimonials alleging the church has allowed bishops and adults to go too far with their line of questioning involving sexual matters with children as young as seven years old.
“Bishops, starting today, don't take a child into your office all alone. Make sure a parent or another adult of the child's choosing is in the room,” Young said.
Young's plea is twofold. He says not only does he want the questions of a sexual nature to stop but also his claims that some bishop have sexually assaulted young people who go behind those closed doors in the Mormon church.
“In stories 53 and 120 little girls were sexually assaulted behind the closed door of the bishop's office. One was seven years old, and the other was 12. Neither of these bishops were prosecuted,” Young said.
Amy Breeden is Young daughter's. She said she doubted her own father about the claims he made in the church until he made a public plea a year ago. Young called for other LDS members to come forward and share their experiences in the church with headquarters based in Utah.
“For thousands of church members this is the first they are hearing of this problem. I on the other hand have been watching for over a year as my father has shed tears over email after email after email after email as thousands of people who felt alone, rejected and worthless have shared their stories with him.”
That is why Young, a Houston businessman, created ProtectLDSchildren.org He’s also started a petition with thousands of signatures so far to keep bishops from meeting privately with children.
Natasha Parker is a therapist and also a member of the Mormon Church and she says now is the time to address the issue before it gets out of control.
”What’s our responsibility is to try to lower the risk of that as much as possible, so there's no need for closed door interviews one on one that deal with sexually explicit questions, right?” Parker said. “So that's an opportunity that the church has. There are other things we could be doing, background checks, more training, things of that nature. Making sure we're not covering up or allowing people to not be reported to authorities.”